January 14, 2005

Priest cleared in sex case

Detroit Free Press

January 14, 2005


Although a jury acquitted the former pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Detroit of molesting a 7-year-old boy, the Rev. Luis Javier de Alba Campos remains banned from wearing a clerical collar or serving as a priest in this area while the Archdiocese of Detroit continues its own review of the abuse allegation.

"Thanks to God. Thanks to the community. Thanks to my attorneys," de Alba Campos said Thursday, moments after a Wayne County Circuit Court jury returned not-guilty verdicts on two counts of criminal sexual misconduct.

De Alba Campos, 50, a visiting priest from Mexico who was assigned to St. Gabriel last February, said he would like to remain as a priest in the Detroit area "because it has a huge, beautiful Latino community ... and they need spiritual help."

But Ned McGrath, an archdiocese spokesman, said the church's procedures for dealing with abuse accusations against priests will resume. He said Catholic officials suspended an internal review when Detroit police and Wayne County prosecutors were notified of the possible criminal behavior last spring.

"No public ministry. He's not supposed to present himself as a priest, wear a collar" or say mass for anybody but himself, McGrath said.

But if the priest decides to return to his home diocese in Mexico, "he would be a priest of good standing" and not bound by those restrictions, McGrath said.

Posted by kshaw at January 14, 2005 07:42 AM